The Secretary-General’s report and Council debate in September should review national and international efforts to advance women’s human rights, and women’s integration into the political, economic and social life of Afghanistan, as per SCR 1917 (OP6d, OP12, OP21, OP23, OP33-35). This is particularly important given Afghanistan’s in September elections. The Council is urged to:
- Consider hearing directly from an Afghan woman human rights defender at the open debate on Afghanistan.
- Ensure that Afghan authorities and UN member states increase measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and bring suspected perpetrators to justice, in fair trials and without recourse to the death penalty.
- Demand that the Afghan government does not trade away human rights, including the rights of women and girls, for reconciliation with the Taleban and other insurgent groups. Any reconciliation agreement must not include new legislation or changes in implementation of existing legislation that would restrict rights currently guaranteed in the Constitution of Afghanistan.
- Ensure that Afghan women are meaningfully represented in the planning stages and during reconciliation talks, in line with Afghanistan’s obligations under international human rights law and SCRs on Women, Peace and Security.
Given the Council’s scheduled October mandate renewal of the International Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), the Council should ensure that the quarterly reports on ISAF operations are timely, and include information on the implementation of the four SCRs on Women Peace and Security, as requested in SCR 1890 on ISAF’s mandate.
Turkey is expected to chair a high-level summit on how the Council can better support international peace and security. As key issues such as peacekeeping, and early warning and preventative diplomacy, are discussed, Council members should ensure the women, peace and security elements of these issues are substantively addressed, as they are fundamental to the Council successfully adapting to the changing international security landscape.
As information emerges on the most recent sexual violence in the DRC in July, the Council should continue to seek information on how and why the UN response failed to prevent and react swiftly to these attacks; and the government and UN should take immediate action ensure support and justice for these and other survivors are prioritized.
The UN mission in Liberia (UNMIL) should have a clearer focus and wider reach on women, peace and security issues. In its mandate renewal, entry points for the Council include:
- Taking concrete steps, with the Liberian government, to prevent and reduce election-related gender-based violence prior to and post the 2011 Liberian election, including ensuring the security of women candidates during the 2011 campaigning in light of the possibility of gender-based intimidation of candidates and activists, a particular problem in Lofa county and the southeast. UNMIL must also be be prepared for possible post election violence, particularly gender-based violence.
- Broaden – with resources – UNMIL’s objective of strengthening civil society organizations as a link between individuals and state institutions to the entire country, rather than focusing primarily on a capital-based group of Liberian NGOs.
While reporting on the presence of women within the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), the previous Secretary-General’s report (S/2010/214), lacks sufficient information on women’s situation in Nepal, particularly in light of recent political developments. The next report should include detailed information on: cases of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers/humanitarian workers and the effectiveness of instruments to address this; women’s involvement in the development if the new constitution, and how it will address their concerns; women’s role in the justice sector, both the formal and transitional justice processes; what human rights violations women are exposed to and what redress is available for them; and how DDR programs are taking into account the specific needs of female ex-combatants. In the forthcoming UNMIN mandate renewal, specific entry points for the Council include:
- Ensuring all female former combatants are provided with support programs (employment, skill training, reintegration etc).
- Ensuring survivors of gender-based violence have full access to information and conflict relief and recovery programs.
- Increasing resources to ensure basic medical and health care for survivors of conflict at the community level.
- Prioritizing women’s participation in all post conflict recovery programs, especially ensuring adequate representation in the constitution drafting process, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary.
- Instilling further measures towards ending impunity for crimes related to women and children, particularly sexual violence.
- Supporting special women’s hearings by Nepal’s truth and reconciliation commission.
The forthcoming report on the UN mission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) should include information on: the political violence in Sierra Leone, which has often degenerated into random acts of violence against women such as the March 2009 attack on the Sierra Leone People’s Party headquarters in Freetown; the remaining challenges to the Family Support Units, which often exist only in the main towns and report a lack of logistics, which in practice means victims of violence – including women – are unable to access justice; and that basic justice and other services are lacking in most provinces, particularly outside of the provincial capitals of Bo, Kenema and Makeni. Some districts do not have a permanent Magistrate, often leading to a de facto lack of access to justice. In the UNIPSIL mandate renewal, due in September, specific entry points for the Council include:
- Monitoring political violence and working with political party leaders, ex-combatants and other sources of violence, including members of the youth wings of parties, in the promotion of non-violence political campaigning.
- Ensuring there is no impunity for acts of violence against women.
- Removing barriers to justice for women, such as the financial costs of bringing a criminal action, the lack of legal aid, and the many adjournments in the judicial system, which often lead to women dropping the cases in question.
The last Secretary-General’s report (S/2010/234) on Somalia re-states Somali women’s special vulnerability due to pervasive level of gender-based violence, acknowledging that women continue to face arbitrary detention, restriction of movement, and other human rights violations. However, it fails to detail the situation on the ground. The next report should highlight: the need for improvement of women’s representation within AMISOM, and the need for pre-operation training on gender issues; recording human rights violations perpetrated by all actors, including AMISOM personnel, and ending impunity for these abuses; if women are being included in all reconciliation initiatives between the TFG and Shabaabs/HBI; an assessment of IDPs’ vulnerability and their needs; an assessment of the impact of SALW on the population, particularly women; women’s participation in politics and the judiciary, and steps needed to ensure women’s access to justice; civil society’s role in action on human rights violations; the impact on women of the lack of adequate humanitarian assistance; and consequences of piracy on the civilian population.
October marks the 10th Anniversary of SCR 1325. September will provide an opportunity for the Security Council and Member States to make final preparations to ensure this anniversary leads to concrete measures to address the significant remaining gaps in implementation. These should include endorsing a comprehensive set of indicators to track implementation of 1325 (SCR 1889 OP17 and Presidential Statement S/PRST/2010/8), and ensuring a systematic and comprehensive approach to implementation is established. Every UN Member States should make measureable, time-bound commitments to meeting their obligations under SCRs 1325 and 1820, 1888 and 1889 on Women, Peace and Security